Google Jamboard

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 1 hour 20 min ago

Tom Mullaney on episode 257 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Google Jamboard is a fun interactive app. There’s hardware too, but don’t be worried. The free app has lots to play with. You just download it on Google Play or iTunes and use it with your touch Chromebook or iPad after listening to Tom Mullaney share how it works. Enjoy this fun, free tool.

Check out Jennifer Gonzalez’ 2018 Teacher’s Guide to Technology for more than 200 tools with special tips, videos, and screenshots to get you started. Listen Now


Enhanced Transcript Google Jamboard

Link to show:
Date: February 20, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Tom Mullaney @tommullaney. He is in the San Francisco Unified School District as a Learning Integration Designer, and he does it with digital technology.

Now Tom, you and I have talked about two technologies that you’re particularly excited about with Chromebooks — Google Jamboard and Google Expeditions.

Now first of all, I have never heard of Google Jamboard. What is it?

Tom: So Google Jamboard is actually a $5,000 piece of equipment. Don’t stop right there. Don’t get worried. It comes with a free app that students can access.

Google Jamboard is a free app

They could access it on a their phones. It’s a little bit small. But also on iPads and on Chromebooks that have the Play Store enabled, which is where education Chromebooks are going.

In Google Jamboard, you have this collaborative space which doesn’t sound all that exciting, but when you think about all the things you can do, you can bring in web content, you can draw perfect shapes, you can draw perfect angles, you can do all these crazy things, including having Hangouts occurring in this Jam. This is a great way to get your kids collaborating, and it’s very, very new.

Vicki: OK. So Jamboard is a piece of hardware, and this is going on inside the hardware that’s connecting them? Is it like something physical that you’re interacting with?

Google Jamboard is also a piece of hardware, but you don’t need it to use the free app

Tom: I mention that there’s hardware, because if you Google “Google Jamboard,” you’re going to see this hardware. Ignore the hardware. We don’t care about that. We care about the free app that lives in the iTunes store and the Google Play Store. It’s called Google Jamboard.

Your kids could do this on an iPads tomorrow. If they can get Google Jamboard on their iPad, they can be in there collaborating with their peers, just like you would in any other Google app, but you have all this fun drawing and collaboration abilities, essentially. So it’s the app that we’re focused on.

Vicki: So your school doesn’t have to own a hardware piece to use Google Jamboard… for this to work. All you have to do is download a free app.

Tom: That’s correct. The hardware that you have to own — iPads or touchscreen Play Store enabled Chromebooks — which if you own them now, it’s very likely your district may own in the next year or two.

Vicki: That’s kind of confusing, isn’t it? (laughs)

But we’re just talking the free app, here — Google Jamboard.

Tom: Right. It’s the kind of thing where — they want to make money, right? They’re a business — but you just have to dig a little deeper and get the app. You can do all the stuff for free.

Vicki: Cool. OK. So you said that kids can interact. They can have a collaborative space. So this is past what they can do with Google Docs, sharing in Google Classroom?

How is this different from collaborating using Google Docs?

Tom: Yes. So in this space, you can draw. They have shape recognition, handwriting recognition, or autodraw. So you can try to draw a house, and then it will predict what you drew and give you options. “Did you draw a house? Did you draw a sun? Did you draw a boat?” of all this cool stuff. It will highlight, or cut things up. You can add more frames, so the space can be somewhat infinite because you can always add frames.

You can also save individual frames as images or entire jams. Each file, let’s say — in Google Docs, a file is called a “doc,” but in Jamboard, a file is called a “jam.” You can save each jam as a PDF.

There are emojis. You can insert emojis right away. Think about how teachers could use that. They could be a collaborator on a jam, and start putting check marks and smiley faces into the elements of the jam they like, and so on and so forth.

Vicki: OK, so this is like the next level of the next step of Google Drawing?

It’s like the next level of a next step of Google Drawing, but much more

Tom: It is, but let’s think of it a few different ways. So Google Drawing is not sketch or touch-friendly, and there’s no mobile app for it. It’s only a web app.

Jamboard is very touch based, but you could use your mouse for most of its functions. So it’s more artistic as far as sketching or scribbling words. And you can scribble words or use the handwriting recognition. It’s a lot more tactile and artistic. Think of drawings as kind of a posterboard, and Jamboard as tactile drawing plus integrating content such as images from the web or or images from your webcam or something like that.

Vicki: Cool. So this is 2D, not 3D.

Tom: This is 2D, yes.

Vicki: Cool. And is it easy to share, like Google Docs and other things are? Or is it easy to share with other — what do you call them — jammers? (laughs)

Tom: Yes, now of course, this is so new. There’s no Google Classroom integration yet.

There’s no Google Classroom integration yet, but there are ways to share

At the same time, when you start a jam, you click the three dots — you see them in a lot of Google apps — and you see “Add people.” That’s where you would add people. You just type in their email address.

That’s where you can also connect to a meeting and make it a Google Hangout, which takes place inside the jam, which is cool. Think of the collaboration possibilities for that — for homebound students, for guest experts that want to collaborate with your class, or vice-versa.

There are so many different ways to collaborate in this space. It’s really fun and new and different and exciting, for sure.

A practical example of a way to use Jamboard

Vicki: OK, You’ve talked a lot about Jamboard. Tom, if you had a teacher who said, “I teach history. How can I use it?” What would you say?

Tom: I would say a few things. So let’s say we’re studying Andrew Jackson, just to throw an example out there. So what I’d probably do is I would divide the subtopics of that for the unit, amongst the class. “So you guys, you’re 1824 election. But you guys are his Native American policy. And you guys are Bank War,” and so on.

And what I would do is say, “As we go through the unit, I want each group to continue creating and putting things into their jam for that topic. So in a few ways, that can be beneficial. If you get a new student, the new student becomes a collaborator in each of the jams, and they’re caught up in a nice visual way.

Also, at the end of the unit, you could have a gallery walk. Another way you could do that is you could say, “Alright, this group has this project, that group has that project. Then use Jamboard as the kind of storyboarding and idea generation space that the teacher is also a collaborator in, so they can collaborate in that space in real time and give feedback.

Vicki: OK, lightbulb! So it’s like SketchNoting. Right?

So it’s like Sketchnoting?

Tom: You could. So if you have the Jamboard app, it’s not designed for this, but I will say this: I like jotting notes on Squid or on Google Keep. But I actually prefer jotting notes in Jamboard because I have a little embedded web browser, where you get your web content. I can put emojis in there. I have handwriting recognition, or draw shapes in there. As a jotting/sketchnoting tool, it actually is really robust and fun.

Vicki: Neat. OK, and so when you’re done, you export it as a PDF and you can put it into Google Keep? Can you also export it as a JPG or PNG, or just a PDF?

How do you share the content if there’s no Google Classroom integration?

Tom: So, the entire jam you can do as a PDF. So you can do it that way, and then once you have that you can submit that as an assignment.

I would say that jams are kind of “messy,” so if I was assessing a jam, I wouldn’t assess on neatness. You get messy. You just do. It’s fun. It’s part of the process.

As far as images… So it will save an individual frame of a jam — think of that being like one slide of a Google Slides — it will save that one frame as an image. And that can be brought into Google Keep, where more things can happen with it.

Vicki: Cool. Well, we’ve learned all about Google Jamboard today. I’m going to be playing and taking a look at this. Remember, it doesn’t integrate with Google Classroom quite yet, but if you can pull it out, you can pull that content in in other ways.

Tom: That’s correct.

Vicki: Thanks, Tom! This has been fantastic!

Tom: You’re welcome!

Contact us about the show:

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted

Tom Mullaney is a Digital Learning Integration Designer for the San Francisco Unified School District. Tom’s education experience includes Special Education, Social Studies, and educational technology coaching in New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. He is a Google for Education Certified Innovator and Trainer. Tom hosts the Sustainable Teaching Podcast where he interviews teachers about their careers and passions. Connect with him on Twitter, @TomEMullaney.


Twitter: @tommullaney

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Google Jamboard appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

What Do You Wear? A Bib or Apron

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 9 hours 10 min ago

Day 43 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Garrett Grubbs, the Youth Minister at Sherwood Baptist Church, said something in a recent sermon that has me rethinking about almost everything in my life. Before you jump off the page, this quote has non-religious applications as well if you’ll read on for a moment.

Now, Pastor Garrett was talking about prayer when he said this, but it can apply to so many things. He said something like,

“You need to ask yourself if you’re wearing a bib or an apron when you pray.”

So, in other words, are you looking to get something (be fed and wear the bib) or to serve God (wear the apron.)

But this “big and apron” metaphor applies to everything. Let’s put this in another context.

Your Job. When you’re approaching your job, are you wearing a bib or an apron? Are you coming to your job for what you can get out of it? Money. Prestige. Power. Or are you looking at your job for what you can give to others? Service. Legacy. An example of excellence. Relating to and knowing others?

Relationships. When you’re approaching another person are you wearing a bib or an apron?

Now, let’s park here for a moment. Amazing people are everywhere. More than once I’ve been drawn into a conversation with a fascinating person at a conference or via email. And then, shortly, they’ll let it slip. They want something. Free promotion. Sharing on social media. For me to blog about them. These folks are wearing bibs.

And perhaps I’m wearing a bib too. However, to so quickly find out a person has an ulterior motive can be disheartening. If somebody puts on a bib too fast, it makes you wonder if the apron was just a charade.

Once I heard a person talk about relationships like a gas tank. You’re either filling the tank (wearing an apron) or causing the person to expend energy on you (bib.) If you use too much of their energy without putting anything back, people will eventually no longer want to be around you.

So, the bib and apron holds true here as well.

Social Media. I think social media is separate from relationships. We need to be the kind of people that make social media a better place. Some people wear bibs – they just want attention. They want likes. They want people to talk about their topic.

But you can wear an apron as well. You can go on social media and decide you want to offer genuine encouragement to five people tonight. You can decide you want to share something positive that will encourage others every single day.

You can use social media for what you get out of it (bib) or make the world a better place (apron.)

And so it goes on.

I agree with Garrett, though, the people who wear aprons as a habit tend to be the kinds of people who leave a legacy and make a difference in the world.

For when we serve others, we think less about ourselves and often live a happier, more exciting life. (And if you don’t believe me, listen to today’s show about Compassionate Achievers and the neuroscience behind compassion and empathy.)

This post is day 43 of 80 days of excellence. I’ve created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

The post What Do You Wear? A Bib or Apron appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

The Compassionate Achiever: Understanding Empathy and Compassion So We Don’t Burn Out

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 19 February, 2018 - 21:30

Chris Kukk on episode 256 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Dr. Chris Kukk, author of The Compassionate Achiever, combines neuroscience with social sciences to discuss why compassion helps us achieve more. He also shares the difference between empathy and compassion and why one of these is a recipe for burnout.

Listen Now


Enhanced Transcript The Compassionate Achiever: Understanding Empathy and Compassion So We Don’t Burn Out

Link to show:
Date: February 19, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Chris Kukk @DrChrisKukk, author of the The Compassionate Achiever.

Now, Chris, you’ve really spent your life’s work combining neuroscience and social sciences. You even work with the Center for Compassion, Creativity, and Innovation.

How do these two combine? How do you combine neuroscience and social sciences?

Chris: That’s a great question.

It happens every day, Vicki.

I was really interested in how people — and why people — make the decisions that they make.

People who are Optimistic Literally See the World Differently than Pessimists

So for me, it’s not just the context that you’re in, but also what happens inside your brain that matters — what you’re thinking, what matters, what perspectives you’re coming with, what kind of neurotransmitter are floating around in some people’s brain?

For example, if you’re highly stressed, cortisol is going to frame whatever you see in the world. Therefore, that will decide or help you decide what actions you’re going to take.

But if you have dopamine flowing around — that high rewards neurotransmitter — you’re going to see the world a lot differently.

Some people used to call me the guy with the rose-colored glasses. My glass is always half-full. They’re like, “You’re so naive. You don’t see the world the way it really is.

Studies have shown now that people who are optimistic, who have that dopamine flowing through, actually have a wider peripheral vision than the people who are negative.

Vicki: Hmmmm.

Chris: So guess what? The people who have rose-colored glasses? You see more of the real world than the people who are negative and are down.

Science has show over and over again that what happens in our brain — you know, we see with our brain, we don’t see with our eyes — and so we really should know what’s going on inside the brain if we want to understand actions and decisions that are being made.

We don’t see with our eyes. We see with our brains.

Vicki: But you know, Chris, these are difficult things.

You’re talking about The Compassionate Achiever, so you obviously care about achievement. I have people in my life — I tend to be positive. My mom says I was a positive, happy baby.

And you know there are some people who — they’re kind of born, and they’re a little more negative. What’s the research by helping us change that? Can we?

Can we change people who are born with a negative outlook rather than a positive one?

Chris: Yes. There are many ways, Vicki, yes. The short answer is yes.

And compassion can be taught, over and over again.

And we talk about that in The Compassionate Achiever.

So even Charles Darwin said that we’re born with compassion. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who is famous for the Social Contract, says that we were all born with natural compassion. But this is the trick, Vicki. Both of them say that we unlearn it through the way we structure society.

Just as an example — kids on playgrounds? When I was teaching overseas on a Fulbright in Estonia, I had 119 European students from all over the place, and I was explaining this theory called realism in international politics. Basically, if you push somebody down, you get to go on top. The world is a zero-sum game according to realism.

So I used the example of playing King of the Hill, that we play in the United States. I said, “You guys, when you play King of the Hill…”

The Games We Play Don’t Have to Be a “Zero Sum Game”

One young scholar… I’ll never forget her. She raised her ahd. She’s from Poland. She said, “Dr. Kukk, what’s KIng of the Hill?”

So I had to explain to a 119 European students that in the United States on the United states playgrounds, we actually have our kids play games called King of the Hill or Kill the Carrier.

That was shocking, and seeing their faces. They were like, “What?”

She raised her hand and said, “Thank you, Dr. Kukk.”

And I felt like, “Alright! I explained that really well!”

And then this is the kicker. My mouth then dropped.

She said, “That explains so much about the United States.”

Vicki: Oh!

Chris: Yeah, because they don’t play that there. Right?

And so this idea that Darwin and Rousseau say — that we were born with natural compassion and we unlearn it.

Unless, Vicki, you’re a psychopath. Psychopaths actually don’t have — and it’s actually been shown that — their brains are wired differently.

So we can teach that. And one of the ways we do it in the American school system is through social-emotional learning programs.

This is the other kicker! When you have social-emotional learning programs, and compassion is flowing through your school day and through your curriculum, you increase dopamine. Dopamine has been shown by neuroscience to be the “Post-It Note” for memory for all of us.

When you have more dopamine flowing through your classroom, you have better memory skills.

Dopamine improves learning and memory

Vicki: So, Chris… some people mis-define compassion.

You know, a student doesn’t have their work, or they don’t understand. “Oh, have compassion. Give them 100.” That’s not what you’re saying, right?

Chris: No.

What is Compassion?

Vicki: Can you define compassion for us?

Chris: Sure! Compassion has two parts.

One is this 360-degree holistic understanding of the problem or suffering of another. So the first part is basically understanding, but a holistic understanding.

The second part is then you have a commitment to take action to address that problem, to solve that suffering.

So, it’s this understanding and then action to take some kind of committed action to help solve that problem.

So, yeah, even my boys… I have 10, 12, and 14 year old boys.

And I discipline them, right?

And they’ll say to me, Vicki, “Aww, you’re supposed to be the compassion dude, right?”

Vicki: (laughs)

Chris: When I’m telling them they can’t (do something)

Vicki: (laughs)

Chris: So I tell them, “You guys are mixing and misunderstanding the difference between discipline and compassion. You can have compassionate discipline, yes.”

You can have compassionate discipline

Vicki: And that is so important to understand.

So, Chris, I know that you have a lot of research and information in your book. But give us an example of how schools can teach kids to have compassion.

Chris: Awww, there are so many fun ways. Let me give you an example.

This just came out in one of the schools there was this teacher that said a 7-year-old boy, “has not empathy, so he can’t have compassion.”

First off, empathy and compassion are not the same thing. You can have compassion without having empathy.

Empathy and compassion are not the same thing

I want to make sure that’s clear. We could have another whole show on the differences between empathy and compassion. But it’s clearly been shown in neuroscience that it’s different.

So I said, “If you don’t think he can have compassion — you know those pigeon books, the pigeon that rides the bus? Mo WIlliams drew the pigeon so that everyone could copy that pigeon. H said, “Ruin my copyright! Just take it.” He was on NPR, literally saying that.

I used that in classes. I said, “Draw a problem with the pigeon and the bus for that young man to try and solve. But leave the next slate blank.”

So we draw that one frame of a problem happening, and then ask him, “How would you draw the next frame?”

And he came up with two or three different solutions, compassionate solutions — not by talking, but by simply drawing it.

Then you can talk to those students about what they were drawing, about compassionate action.

So sometimes, our young students don’t have the words yet, to frame or to say what they want to say in terms of helping somebody. But trust me, they have it. They’re born with it. We just have to unleash it. One way we can do that is through comic drawing.

Vicki: So, Chris, why is it important for modern achievers to be compassionate? I mean, there’s research behind why compassion is needed, right? It’s not just a “nice to have”…

Chris: Right.

Vicki: … through character education. Aren’t there some real tangible benefits to being a compassionate person?

Tangible benefits to being a compassionate person

Chris: YES! Health!

There are so many.

If you look at one, just for your internal self, health. When you are having compassion, you are actually releasing a lot of endorphins. You’re releasing neurotransmitters, like dopamine (that reward level)and serotonin (that calming level).

You’re releasing and triggering a peptide hormone called oxytocin, which then releases all those great chemicals in your brain, lowers your blood pressure, reduces stress and chances for s heart attack. Those are just some of the health benefits.

But for team building, and for working with your colleagues and other teachers? It creates trust. It builds trust. When you have trust running through your team, you’re apt to do more. People are more apt to give more to each other.

The benefits are internal as well as external, and they go on and on.

There have been recent studies, and the Wall Street Journal just had this, in places in medical facilities where rudeness and incivility and the lack of compassion were high, there were more misdiagnoses. Wrong medications were given.

And when you increase compassion, the increase in health — less hospital time stays, people recuperating faster.

I mean, the benefits are all over the place, not just intellectually speaking. We have research, not just from the United States, but also places like Sweden, that show you that what happens when you have a compassionate classroom set up, what happens to those students in terms of their learning capabilities and abilities.

There are just so many wild benefits. You’re absolutely right, Vicki.

Vicki: So as we finish up… I have heard teachers or others say this before.

“Well, I have compassion all day long. I have compassion for everybody else. But nobody gives it to me.”

What’s your answer?

Prevent Burnout by Having Compassion, Not Empathy

Chris: They’re doing something other than compassion.

The reason I say that is that Dr. Tania Singer from Leipzig, Germany has shown us over and over. She was the first one in a September 2013 article. When we think in a compassionate way, we use the same neural circuits as love.

But when we think in an empathetic way, we use different neural circuits — the neural circuits of pain.

You get burned out. When you give compassion, compassion is given back to you over and over again. People come to you, even when you don’t even ask for help.

When you think in an empathetic way, you’re stepping into the shoes of another. A lot of people confuse empathy and compassion. They even confuse sympathy with compassion.

Sympathy’s not the same thing. That’ll burn you out. That’ll take you down.

But Vicki, when you’re in love? Like I’m going to be married to my wife this May for 30 years. When I give more love, I’m not burned out. I’m not feeling like I’m not getting love back. It comes back threefold, fourfold.

And compassion is that.

Vicki: So, I’m going to add on one more question even though we’re the 10-Minute Teacher. This is as much for me as for others.

When I do tests, I am off the chart empathetic. That’s me.

Chris: (laughs)

Vicki: And it can burn me out. I have to be careful, because I tend to feel the emotions of others.

Chris: Yes.

Vicki: Help me understand, in a healthy way, the difference between empathy and compassion.

Chris: And I’m glad you brought this up, because most teachers are attracted to that profession because they do have high levels of empathy. Same with nurses. Same with doctors.

Alright. So the basic difference. Think of empathy as having the same feeling as somebody else.

When someone else is down and depressed, you get down and depressed. Your brain doesn’t know the difference. That burns you out.

Having compassion. You’re feeling kindness toward somebody else. There’s a difference.

You can actually act to solve a problem without having to feel that problem. You can understand that suffering without having to feel that suffering.

So, it’s a lot like… for me, like a lifeguard. Before I was trained as a lifeguard, I thought, you go out there, right Vicki? You swim to them, and you save them, and you bring them back in.

But you’ve finally trained as a lifeguard, you don’t necessarily do that, because when someone’s drowning, they grab for you.

Empathy versus compassion: The lifeguard analogy

You know what you’re taught as a lifeguard in order to save them? You’re taught to take them down. Because they release you, they go back to the surface, and then you can go around and grab them — to then bring them in.

Vicki: Hmmmm.

Chris: Compassion takes that extra deliberate step of understanding, where empathy you’re just falling into the feeling. And you get lost. You can get stuck in that emotional quicksand.

Vicki: As we finish up, there’s a great old movie called Warm Springs. Kathy Bates is actually in it, and it’s about FDR. He’s feeling sorry for himself because he has polio. He doesn’t want to run for President because he said he was going to run for President when he could walk again. Obviously he couldn’t walk again. Kathy Bates in this scene says, “You are down in that hole. But I refuse to get down in that hole with you, but then I can’t pull you out.”

Chris: She’s avoiding empathy, and taking compassion.

Vicki: That’s right.

Chris: That’s right. You don’t get in the hole.

Oh, I love that! That’s a great line! (laughs)

Vicki: Oh, and I read it because I needed it!

You’ve helped me understand it, Chris.

So the book is The Compassionate Achiever by Chris Kukk.

Do check out the Shownotes. I’ve learned a lot! This is yet another example of how — when you share, when you blog, when you podcast — how it not only hopefully changes the listener, but it also changes the host, the person who’s involved.

So thank you, so much Chris, for helping me understand the difference between compassion and empathy. I think sometimes I get so empathetic, I become pathetic. (laughs)

Chris: (laughs)

Well, thank you for having me on. It’s an honor.

I’ve been following your work for quite a while, so this is an honor for me, Vicki.

Contact us about the show:

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted

Dr. Kukk is the HarperCollins author of The Compassionate Achiever, co-host of The Compassionate Achiever Podcast, founding Director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation, Professor of Political Science/Social Science at Western Connecticut State University, a Fulbright Scholar, Director of the Kathwari Honors Program, founder of the University’s Debate Team, and member of Phi Beta Kappa.

He received his Ph.D. in political science from Boston College and his B.A. in political science from Boston University. He was also an international security fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. His research and publications combine neuroscience with the social sciences and focus on education issues, the political economy of natural resources, and the creation and sustainability of civil society.

Dr. Kukk was also a counter-intelligence agent for the United States Army, a research associate for Cambridge Energy Research Associates, and has provided the Associated Press, National Public Radio, The Economist magazine, NBC-TV, CableVision, and other media with analysis on a wide range of topics and issues. His forthcoming books are based on the idea of weaving values such as compassion into our learning, civic, and business communities.


Twitter: @DrChrisKukk

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post The Compassionate Achiever: Understanding Empathy and Compassion So We Don’t Burn Out appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Always Err on the Side of Positive

The Principal of Change George Couros - 19 February, 2018 - 01:20

From the beginning of my teaching career, I remember trying to go out during recess and playing basketball with kids, because I was passionate about the sport, and that meant something to the students.  Not only did this boost my confidence as I grew older that I could still score on 12-year-olds on the playground, it was also a great way to connect with both students I taught and didn’t teach that year.

I have a personal policy that if I was to pass a student or an adult in the hallway, I would always acknowledge them in some way positive.  A little “hello” or positive comment to someone could significantly improve their day, whether you know it or not.  I know that when I go to the gym and get a friendly hello or acknowledgment from someone working at the counter when I check in, it can improve my mood and change my workout, and sometimes, my entire day.

There is a lot of bad stuff in our world. Maybe there is more than there has ever been, perhaps we are just more aware of it, or maybe it is both  I don’t know. What I do know is that a subtle positive interaction with a student (or adult) walking in the hallway could be a pebble in the ocean that eventually changes the tide for that child.

Or maybe it doesn’t.

I also know that no matter how many times I acknowledge someone positively, I never run out of opportunities to do it again.

The safest bet is to always err on the side of positive.  Small interactions can make a massive difference.

Categories: Planet

Get Rid of Excuses and Get Ahead

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 18 February, 2018 - 12:15

Day 42 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

A fictional account of what happened in Daniel captured my interest tonight. Taken from the book Agents of Babylon by David Jeremiah, on page 169, the fictionalized Daniel talks about the peace in the districts he manages and says,

“Unrest always has an underlying — and often legitimate — cause… it serves us well as leaders to listen and learn. In most cases, a simple compromise can appease the people and protect our interests while costing us nothing. And when we work for an agreeable resolution, the people begin to trust us and become cooperative, which eliminates the need for force.”

How to Get Rid of Excuses with Other People

In the fictional example above, Daniel talks about listening. Well, after fifteen years of teaching, I typically know the excuses students make that keep them from learning. So, my strategy is hitting it head-on.

Today is a perfect example. Before I started teaching the hardest thing of the year in my advanced Computer Science class today, binary numbers, I got the excuses out of the way. Those excuses are typically:

  • This looks too hard
  • I can’t learn it
  • I won’t learn it
  • If I pretend to learn I can just not understand this and she’ll eventually move on without me having to learn it
  • I’m not going to pay attention and then blame it on her
  • It is going to take me too long to learn it and I’ll fail the first test so why try?
  • I’m going to make a joke out of it and try to get a laugh

How do I handle this?

Deal with excuses up front

Well, I give an excuse-killing speech that goes something like this,

“We’re going to learn the hardest thing of the year right now to get it out of the way. In all 15 years I’ve taught, every student has learned how to do binary numbers. All of them. And unless you think you might be the first, here’s how this works. I teach it until you know it. When the whole class is making A’s, then we move on.

Sometimes I’ve taught a class in 7 days with 4 or 5 tests. Other times it has taken me two weeks and the all time top record was 14 different quizzes or tests to get to where we knew it.

I’ve got four different ways to teach binary numbers. Eventually I’ll get to the way you learn. If I don’t we’ll spend one on one time making sure you get it. If you’re worried about all of these quizzes and tests, there’s no need. I do something called formative assessment.

This means, I’m quizzing you while knowledge is forming. So, I give lots of little quizzes so you can see how you’re doing. I don’t give a real quiz or test until all of you are answering the formative quizzes with over 80% right and I know you understand it.

Some of you will look at it and think it is too hard. But then, there are some of you who will learn it and it will be ridiculously easy. Don’t say anything to make the others feel bad – it looks really hard until the light bulb goes on and it is really easy.”

Now, yes, that takes a good five minutes and in reality, is a tad longer. However, since I’ve started setting their frame of mind for this, the kids will learn how to convert binary to decimal within 15 minutes of giving this speech – and that time includes a 5-minute movie.

No Excuses Can Mean Real Progress

You see, once they know that I accept no excuses and everyone will learn it and I will teach everyone, they’ll relax and learn it.

But here’s the cool thing, they not only finished in my class, but they went to math class and after they finished started working binary problems “for fun.” I praised the class for how quickly they all learned it as each person showed me their answer.

The first class took 5 problems before everyone got it right. My second class took 4 problems! The previous record was 8 problems!

Who You Excuse Says A Lot About You

I can tell a great teacher by who they blame.

A mediocre or average teacher will usually blame the students or parents or society. They’ll make excuses for themselves, however.

The greatest teachers are always striving to do better. They hold a very high standard for themselves first — but also a high one for their students.  These teachers focus on what they can control — themselves.

I like to stay away from the blame game.

As an aside, every sort of “blame” can be a problem if taken too far. (Who doesn’t know the person who is always saying “I’m sorry” when they haven’t done anything wrong! You can say, it is cold today and they’ll apologize!)

Accepting Responsibility

However, taking responsibility for what you can do is important.

Today’s challenge is to look at areas of your life and see who gets your excuses? Who gets most of your blame?

I have a sign Mom handed down to me in my classroom.

“No Whining”

If I find myself whining, then I do something about it. Either a swift self-kick in the pants or I face facts about a situation and do something to change it or move on.

I just loved how Daniel in the opening didn’t make excuses for poor governing. He showed mercy for his people. And he held the government officials responsible as well as himself.

Today’s Excellence Challenge

Think of the biggest struggle in your life.

Are you making excuses for yourself? Are you blaming others? If others are truly at fault, how will you respond?


The post Get Rid of Excuses and Get Ahead appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Self Driving Everything

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 17 February, 2018 - 07:45

Nissan put together this cute little video that starts with self driving slippers and moves on to self driving pillows and chairs and, well, watch it.

What's next? That is the question I would ask students - what else should be self driving? And why?

Categories: Planet

Waste: Finding Balance in a Demanding World

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 17 February, 2018 - 03:05

Day 41 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

To complain without action or to pour yourself out without reservation: both of these habits are a waste. Not all bad things are worth belaboring. All good things are not you-things that you have to do. Sometimes a desert of exhaustion and despair is of our own making.

Right now, we have a long weekend off school. Part of what I’m doing is to rest and recover! Looking through old journal entries, I came across a poem I wrote on February 24, 2016 entitled “Waste” that spoke to me about the challenge we all face not to waste our lives complaining about what we can’t change or pouring ourselves into causes we’re not called to do.


There are those who will tell you every wrong.

Listen and they’ll sing their song.

“Woe is me. Poor me – sad me. Everything ill.

So, sit here and hear me complain and I will.”

Crystal spider webs can be woven to make a strong line,

So do grumblers who weave their own straight jacket one tiny complaint at a time.


Then there are those with no boundary

They’ll do their job and others’ without quandary.

But one day they wake up and have lost their art

No thanks. No joy. Just broken heart.

They pour out their pitcher until it dries up

And stare open mouthed at their empty cup.


Oh the happy soul who strikes the chord

Of harmonious balance, each day looking toward.

They don’t whine and complain nor everything touch,

Their life has purpose with some sense left to clutch.

Oh to balance life tween thick and thin, with joy left to put it all in

No binding vest or empty vase, just life to the full with nothing a waste.

By Vicki Davis


I hope you’re encouraged to find balance in your life as you seek to make things better and find your purpose. You’re called to something but not everything. You’re called somewhere but you can’t physically be everywhere.

Life is full of choices. The best among us make those choices.

  • They work where they can make a difference.
  • They refuse to complain pointlessly.
  • They steward their lives as the finite and precious resource that they are.

Nobody is making more time and nobody is making any more of you. You’ve got to make choices about the best way to spend you and your time and nobody can do that for you. But if you burn out and wear out and there’s no more of you, you can’t really do anyone any good, can you?

Today, examine your past week. Did you complain pointlessly at any time? Are you pouring your time and energy into too many things? Even worse, are you pouring them into things that aren’t really a calling for you anymore? Reflect and take action.

This post is day 41 of 80 days of excellence. I’ve created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

The post Waste: Finding Balance in a Demanding World appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

5 Ways to Stop Bullying in Every School

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 16 February, 2018 - 21:30

Rick Rando on episode 260 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

School culture and policies are part of what helps us combat bullying in schools. Rick Rando, school empowerment speaker, shares what schools can do to help stop bullying.

Check out Reinventing Writing, the book I authored that teaches about the nine collaborative writing tools, how to build writing communities, and tips and tricks for collaborative writing in Google Docs and more. Listen Now



Enhanced Transcript 5 Ways to Stop Bullying in Every School

Link to show: www.coolcatteacher/e260
Date: February 16, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Rick Rando @RandoSpeaks. He travels the country, delivers keynotes, and has a message about anti-bullying. But today, we’re going to talk about five ways to stand against bullying in every school.

So Rick, what’s our first way?

Rick: Well, basically, it all comes down to culture.

Number one? Know your school’s anti-bullying culture and showcase it proudly.

Tip 1: Know your school’s anti-bullying culture and showcase it proudly.

I’m a big Disney fan. Roy Disney said it best, “It’s easy to make decisions when you know what your values are.”

I have a quick acronym for you. It’s BEEE.

  • Build
  • Establish
  • Execute
  • Enforce/Reinforce that culture.

What you have to do is figure out what your school is about, how you want to approach bullying, to find exactly what it is about bullying that you need to look for or identify, and then basically create a culture around not having that be present.

Essentially, this has to be exhibited from the top down. And I’ll do one step further. Once you create your anti-bullying culture — what it looks like, how to identify it –, then you can’t be afraid to revisit that culture, knowing that. Is this something that’s working? Is it not working? Be able to revisit that tool, basically, create it or implement it almost like a business.

In a business when they implement something, it’s create and then train their staff and implement a new idea, and then they have to assess if it’s working or not to retool and retrain.

Essentially, it’s all about creating an anti-bullying culture. That’s something that we forget to do. When I go into schools, it’s something that a lot of schools don’t have, frankly.

Vicki: Yes. I remember seeing two young men today, and they said, “Oh, we’re just playing and having fun.”

I said, “I don’t like how it looks. You just have not to do it, because I don’t like how it looks.”

That’s part of that culture of, “This is how we treat each other.”

OK, what’s our second, Rick?

Rick: Give everyone the resources to live and to thrive in the culture that you’ve actually just created.

Tip 2: Give everyone the resources to live and to thrive in the culture that you’ve actually just created.

Like I said, once you clearly defined what bullying actually is (because there’s a difference between bullying and name-calling, teasing — there’s definitely a little bit of difference there, so it’s important to establish exactly what it is) but then, go ahead and give your staff, your parents, your students, your administrators the tools that they need to go ahead and stamp it out, identify it, deal with it.

To give you an example, like staff… I went to one school once and they all had t-shirts on that said, “We are not a bully school!”

From verbal training to disciplinary procedures to positive reinforcement of an anti-bullying platform or message…

Parents: In Allegany County, Maryland have on their website information that you can access, but also submit and anonymous incidence report. What happens is they get a chance to — the school board can assess to see exactly what this is and where it’s happening and follow up with administrators and hopefully serve those needs in that particular school. Parents feel really connected, that they have a platform to reach out and know that the school and the school board is going to handle it.

Students: Posters, fliers, assemblies. I do assemblies. I just came from one this morning in schools, talking about anti-drug, anti-bullying. Again, it’s about creating that culture of, “We’re not going to stand for it.”

Staff: Having those messages from the guidance counselor — guidance talks and handouts.

Administrators: I think that too many times, administrators are hamstrung about what they can do and what they can’t do because they can’t share information due to confidentiality. Or a lot of times, they just don’t know where to turn.

Giving them the resources necessary to again, identify it, and also be able to thrive in that culture where it’s going to be a zero-tolerance. So you’ve got to give your staff and your people the opportunity to be able to have the resources to deal with it and thrive in that culture.

Vicki: Very true. What’s next?

Rick: The third one is empower your students to take a stand.

Tip 3: Empower your students to take a stand.

At my martial arts studio, we have a program called Common Sense Before Self Defense. We give an anti-bullying tip every single week, and it’s all using your mind or your brain to be able to diffuse a situation or outhink the bully.

We say, “Using your brain before causing pain.”

We say, “Find your voice. Find a trusted adult. Find the courage to tell a parent your guardian. Find your voice to stand up to a bully. Tell them how that makes you feel, that it’s not OK. Find a trusted adult to confide in at the school system or a babysitter or childcare provider. Also find the courage to tell mom and dad, because a lot of kids think it’s their fault, that they’re doing something wrong, that they have shoes on or they speak the wrong language or have the wrong skin color.

In more concrete terms of being able to handle bullies, when you empower your students to take a stand, you can teach them how to agree with a bully. “Yeah, I know these glasses maybe look a little odd. But, man, I can see crystal clear, and that’s why I get such good grades.” Or, “I know these shoes might look a little off, but man, I can run really fast.”

You know, being nice to the bully, walking away, using trickery. If you’re caught into a bathroom, and all of a sudden the bully comes in. You can suddenly start itching like you have poison ivy or something. “I wouldn’t touch me. I’m really contagious.”

Of course refusing to fight or calling for help — these are all concrete things that you can use to teach to empower your students and your kids to stand up to bullying.

Vicki: So important. OK, what’s our fourth?

Rick: Reinforce effort. Work at leadership success as often as humanly possible.

Tip 4: Reinforce effort. Work at leadership success.

So as a teacher, as an educator, we do what we call spotlighting or highlighting. When we see a positive behavior being done, we want to say, “Guys, did you see how Timmy lined up so fast and so quickly. He’s standing perfectly still, and this is what we want to see everybody do.”

What we’re looking for is once we’ve created this culture, this anti-bullying culture in your school system, saying we’re not going to be picked on, we’re not going to tolerate this behavior, we’re going to go ahead and showcase people that are actually modeling that culture, modeling that positive behavior.

Essentially, in business, we say, “Find somebody doing something right. We’re going to spotlight it. We’re going to highlight it.”

Everybody’s version of success could be different. Johnny with ADHD is having trouble concentrating, so when he does something in that realm, that one step further of concentration, we want to pat him on the back, and we want to spotlight him. Whereas Timmy who gets good grades all the time, and for him, it could be really going above and beyond on a project, where we want to highlight him and give him that high-five and that fistbump. Also just making sure that we’re catching kids doing something right in that positive behavior realm.

Vicki: Oh, and catching them doing something right is so important, because otherwise, people are always running because we’re never saying anything positive! (laughs)

OK, what’s our fifth?

Rick: Our fifth thing is probably the most important element as far as anybody that’s handling or being around children. It’s to be there for your students and families. Serve their needs each and every day.

Tip 5: Be there for your students and families. Serve their needs each and every day.

“Serve” is this catch phrase. It’s this buzzword now in the corporate world. It really comes down to being present, listening, paying attention, and being willing to go above and beyond — even when you don’t want to, even when it’s inconvenient, even when you feel like this kid doesn’t deserve it. OK, you’ve got to be there, and you’ve got to pay attention. You’re looking, and you’re noticing these small things, these small imperfections. How do we, as parents, know that our kid is being bullied anyway? We’re looking for different patterns of how they’re eating, or how they’re behaving. Maybe they’re short with us. We know when our kids are not feeling well because of the signs, the physiognomy that we use to study our child. Why can’t we do the same thing in a classroom? Why can’t we do the same thing in our class of 25 kids? We’ve got to know these kids. We’ve got to know that THEY know that they care about us and we care about them because we’re in that leadership position.

As a teacher — and I’ll just end with this — you have an unshakeable accountability to continue to be a positive example in our society, but the most awesome responsibility lies in the magnitude of our daily actions in the minds of our adolescents that we model and are around. They continuously look to us with wide eyes and open hearts to mimic our actions, repeat our words. Our ultimate role — of a teacher, of someone that influences children — is to be their superhero. Be present.

Vicki: Wow, Rick. I think we’ll end with that.

Educators, let’s take a stand against bullying. Let’s really be present for our kids.


Contact us about the show:

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Rick Rando – Bio as submitted

Author, Consultant, 6th Degree Black Belt, and Keynote Empowerment Speaker, Master Rick Rando is regarded as a High-Octane Motivational Master. Focusing on instilling confidence and individuality, Master Rando has conducted thousands of presentations on empowerment and leadership in the business world and in academia. He owns one of the largest open-spaced martial arts studios in the country, teaching hundreds on children weekly.

Rando is a CEO (, philanthropist, marathon runner, and most importantly husband to a beautiful wife and father of two wonderful children.


Twitter: @RandoSpeaks

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post 5 Ways to Stop Bullying in Every School appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

The One String Masterpiece: What We Can Learn from Paganini’s One String

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 16 February, 2018 - 12:03

Day 40 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Paganini was there to play his great work “Napoleon.” His violin glistened. One string popped. He continued to play. Then, another one! Paganini played on. After his third string broke, he had one left. As he looked to his sold out but shocked audience in Italy,he held up his violin and yelled,

“Paganini and one string!”

And proceeded to wow them with the entire piece played on just one string. He received a standing ovation when he was done.

While it wowed his audience, no one redesigned the violin with one string. The violin is still a violin although Paganini could play a masterpiece on one string. That is because Paganini is a master. Everyone in the audience knew that one string was not dripping with talent. Nor was that one string possessed. That one string was played. Played by a master. And so it sung.

There are master teachers. They can teach with just their voice. Or a stick. Or a book. Or a computer. Hand them one string and they’ll make learning sing. These craftsman teachers — they teach. Anyplace. Anytime. With anything.

And yet, we worship the string.

Certainly, some strings are better than others. They are stronger. More resonant. Better tools. That is great. I’m all for great tools.

But we should not forget that the master is the one who plays the strings. People in the audience watching the teaching should know that one app or tool or feature is not dripping with talent. That one app is not possessed. That one tool was played. Played by a master. And so it taught.

There are people who buy and sell strings. They talk about the music played on the string as if the string is possessed. They hawk the masterpiece as if it lives in the string and can be played at will.

What our modern world does with tools would be like walking on stage after Paganini finished his piece and pushing him off the stage. Then, grabbing his one-stringed violin, the seller would hold it up high. He would start asking the audience to kneel to the one string. Or start selling one stringed violins. In homage to its greatness.

That string was just a string. The master had left the stage.

There is a method of the master. A way to play the string that produces great music.

Likewise, there’s a method of the master teacher, leader, master businessperson, master marketer, master parent, master speaker. Anything of worth can be mastered.

But often, many of us in search of excellence place too much emphasis on the tools and not on the craftsmanship of becoming a master of the craft.

As for me, I shall not worship the string. I shall learn from the masters.

Those who worship strings will find themselves in quiet company. Sitting around surrounded by tools, gadgets, and bills for downloaded apps. In boxes. Unused. Or broken. Misused. But not played for masterful accomplishment.

The advancement of any art form requires an honoring of the master craftsmen who know the trade.

Here’s to you master teachers or masters of any trade. Those of us who play the tune of learning know where the masterpiece really starts.

Honor your profession. Learn the craft from great craftsmen. Become a master. Play on.

This post is day 40 of 80 days of excellence. I’ve created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

The post The One String Masterpiece: What We Can Learn from Paganini’s One String appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Why Schools Should Focus More on “Innovation” Than “EdTech”

The Principal of Change George Couros - 16 February, 2018 - 09:05

I received an excellent message from a friend of mine that I have made over the past couple of years, Donna DeSiato. Donna is the superintendent of East Syracuse Minoa School District, which I have been lucky enough to speak to over the past two years on the topic of innovation in education. I have written about Donna and her district before, and they are pushing the boundaries of what school could and should look like. I am making an assumption here, but I know Donna would say that she is very proud of the work that is being led by her staff, but that can always grow and get better. That is what makes their organization special, and others like it; the constant pursuit of getting better.

What Donna had shared with me today was an article outlining the significant increase in graduation rates of their school district. From the article:

The East Syracuse Minoa school district showed the greatest improvement in graduation rates among all districts in the state with more than 200 students in a class, a analysis shows.

Graduation rates improved from 81 percent in 2016 to 92 percent in 2017, according to records released last week by the New York State Department of Education.

The statewide average was about 80 percent.

Superintendent Donna DeSiato attributes the success to the hard work of students as well as staff and parental support for both high achieving and struggling students.

The school district was recently recognized as one of 26 in New York state to qualify for the Advanced Placement honor roll, which requires diversity in AP class enrollment and high test scores.

The district also analyzes data to identify struggling students, then works with each one to develop skills or figure out why showing up for school might be the challenge.

I asked Donna if their focus on “innovation” made an impact on this increase and she replied, “Without a doubt! It is the 10th anniversary of the implementation of our Strategic Plan, and the integration of innovative learning models clearly has contributed to these significant gains.”

This makes my heart and mind happy.

A few things:

  1. The focus is on “innovation,” not technology. I am sure that technology is present, but the focus is on changing the mindset to continuously new and better ways to serve students.  Schools need to shift away from the idea of “EdTech” to a focus on “innovation.” They are significantly different as the first seems to focus on the “stuff,” where the second focuses more so on the “learner.” Big difference.
  2. Do I believe that the results are 100% due to a focus on innovative practices? Nope, and it would be impossible to separate all things to see if that focus had a direct result of what happened here. What I do know is that the team at East Syracuse focused on innovation and their results went up. They were able to “innovate inside the box” and get results that are measured, while also changing the school experience for their students in a way that will serve them beyond schools in our present day and future.  Too often, people believe that “innovation” and the box of school can’t work together, but I disagree wholeheartedly.  How you teach is more important than what you teach.
  3. Someone said to me, “The more innovative I have become, the less classroom management issues I had.” Think about that statement and how true that is.  This is not only for classroom management but also with kids showing up to school in the first place and wanting to be there.  You are more likely to be able to push a student to their fullest potential if you create an environment that they both want to be in and feel valued.

I know Donna would say (and has said) that this is only one measure and should not be the only thing communities focus on to show if a school or district has been successful.  But I wanted to highlight this as proof as the idea of “school” and “innovation” are not necessarily counterintuitive.  If you have people embrace a different mindset and create something better for our students, while still working within the constraints of the system, incredible gains can be made within the present of what is expected, and the potential of what can be created in the future.

Categories: Planet

Jumanji and the While Loop

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 16 February, 2018 - 03:41

Cultural references (term used loosely) can make projects and exercises more interesting for students. Now that there is an updated version of the movie Jumanji out I decided to use that reference again for working with while loops.

If you remember the movie, you will probably remember that people playing the game can be forced to wait in the jungle until another player rolls a 5 or an 8. There are several ways you can use this in an exercise. You can “roll” dice once and use an if statement to report if the person can leave the jungle or not. OK but boring. Or you can simulate rolls to see how many “moves” it takes to get someone out of the jungle. That’s what we did.

There are several things I like about this exercise. We start by asking if the loop should check at the top or the bottom. Of course you can write it either way but the discussion is the valuable part.

Next we take on how the Boolean expression is formed. Finally we talk about the code inside the loop. One die with a range of 1 to 12 or two die with a range of 1 to 6? Which one better simulates real game play and why? Finally we talk about how to do the counting inside the loop.

All in all I find it a helpful exercise. As a demo it is simple enough to show the basics but involved enough to have some good conversations about how and why we do things different ways. And it is relatable to things outside of school.

Categories: Planet

School Counselors Helping More Women Go Into Computer Science: Tips and Advice to Find the Fit

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 15 February, 2018 - 21:30

Angela Cleveland on episode 254 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

School counselors are challenged to encourage students into exciting opportunities that fit their skills and abilities but also to be careful not to stereotype. Today, Angela Cleveland talks about the tips, resources, and ideas to help encourage young women to go into Computer Science.

Listen Now


Enhanced Transcript School Counselors Helping More Women Go Into Computer Science

Link to show:

Date: February 5, 2018

Vicki: Today we’re talking with Angela Cleveland @AngCleveland. She is the 2017 New Jersey State School Counselor of the Year.

But now, she’s working with school counselors across the United States, helping them help girls go into IT.

She’s co-founder of Reigning It (

So, Angela, how do we help counselors advise women or young girls to take a look at IT and computer science?

Angela: First of all, thanks so much for having me on your show. I’m a big fan, so I appreciate this opportunity.

In terms of young women, school counselors and really all educators can help young women and really all of our students learn more about computer science and technology by thinking about how it intersects with every area of interest.

So it can mean just taking a look around at our world and thinking, “Hmmm, this is something interesting. How was this created? Someone had to invent this app that’s on my phone, or this way of solving a certain problem. How did that process take place?”

Really, thinking about how computer science affects every area of interest, whether it’s art or history or fashion or sports. It’s there somewhere. When we start to see that intersection as educators, we can have those conversations with our students.

Thinking about how computer science affects every area of interest

Vicki: What are some things that counselors do right, that actually work with helping girls? We’re not talking about encouraging a girl who may not be a good fit for that. But we are talking about having an open mind, right?

Angela: Right.

An open mind is really key. Sometimes we have to check our own bias about who we think is right for computer science.

In our society, there may be a certain perception that it’s maybe someone who is very quiet, who likes to work alone, and maybe a male, or maybe someone who’s very good at math or science. A lot of those, if not all of those, are really myths about who is right for computer science.

Today, people are working in groups. There’s a concept called Pair Programming, where students work together on a coding activity. Computer science is about problem-solving.

Computer science is about problem-solving

The biggest predictor of who’s going to be successful in computer science is someone who likes to solve problems. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have a strong math or science background, but that you have an inquisitive and curious mind.

So if you have a student who likes to solve puzzles, or they like doing Sudoku, that’s somebody who would be great for computer science!

All of our students have this great ability to pick up on what may be some problems in our society. Talking to student about, “How would you fix that? Especially using technology, how could you address that problem?’

So that’s really important.

For school counselors, what’s key is that school counselors have the ability to look at the demographics of a school, to look at where students are going in terms of course placement.

They can look at, “Is there a gender gap in our computer science class?”

Or, “We’re running this after-school club, and we’re noticing that all the same types of students are gravitating toward this club.”

So school counselors have this ability to look at the system as a whole and to support students.

School counselors have this ability to look at the system as a whole

One of the most effective things that school counselors can do is to encourage young women to explore a club or a computer science class with a friend. Just having someone else in there who is like them, who they feel comfortable with, is really important. We find that there’s a lot of success with just having a friend in the class with you.

Vicki: So you’ve already named one mistake, which is stereotyping.

Angela: (agrees)

Vicki: Don’t think that they just have to be a loner, or that sort of thing.

Are there any other common mistakes that you think end up not helping young girls the way we should?

Angela: Right. Sometimes it has to do with the environment that students are going into in terms of the classroom, the actual setting itself.

School counselors — we’ve talked to them across the country — go into a computer science class and look around. You can get a sense, just from the posters that are on the wall, “Is this an inclusive environment? Is there a fair representation of all people?”

If you’re a young woman going into a computer science class, and you look around and you see posters with Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, you start to maybe get an idea that, “Hmmm. This is a field for white males.”

It would be as simple as just having more representation in the classroom that shows women that there are people who are doing this job, and they’re in this industry, and they’re just like you. They have a background similar to yours.

Display more representation of women and people of diversity

Vicki: That’s so important, to show girls and give them models.

In my classroom, we talk of course about Augusta Ada Byron Lovelace, who was the world’s first programmer.

Angela: (laughs) Yes!

Vicki: Just realizing how many women (and people of) of diversity are really part of the computer science revolution.

So what are some of the resources that counselors can access that will help them in this area? Some counselors I know feel awkward talking about computer science because they’re not really very technical themselves.

What are some resources for counselors and other educators?

Angela: Absolutely. That’s a great question. I get asked that quite frequently.

I’m going to share with you one of my favorite resources. It’s completely free and very accessible.

It’s a magazine called “Careers With Code.” (

If you go to their website in the Shownotes, you can download a magazine that they have. It’s totally free to download. You can also order some copies of it. What’s great about this magazine is they lead with this concept called CS, which stands for computer science, plus X.
And X is any area of interest.

They have really fun personality quizzes in there, and they talk about how — whatever you’re interested in — if you’re interested in pop culture and you like to keep up with the Kardashians — there is a career in computer science for you.

They really demystify what computer science is, how it affects all of these different areas of interest, how it’s changing the world.

Then, there are extension activities. You can go onto the Careers With Code YouTube channel, and you can see more interviews with the people who are featured.

It’s a really great resource, and I think especially for counselors to see that there are different pathways to computer science.

It’s not so linear (pun intended) where people start at a young age, coding in their basement.

Oftentimes with young women, they come into computer science because there’s something they’re interested in, there’s a problem they want to solve, and technology provides a pathway for them to solve that problem.

Vicki: So Angela, as we were recording this recently, you were at Georgia Tech working with about 70 counselors in this area.

What are counselors saying about the conversations they’re having with kids — particularly girls — about this topic?

What are counselors saying about this topic?

Angela: Right. When we meet with school counselors, one of the things that we share out is the data regarding Bachelor’s degrees that are being conferred in this country, and the number of jobs that are available.

This is something that really resonates with school counselors because we’re very much focused on graduating students to go into post-secondary education, the military, or the world of work, and to have sustainable careers.

When we look at the data, we have the majority of degrees being conferred in the social sciences, but there aren’t enough jobs in this country for someone who just has a degree in the social sciences.

The reverse is happening in computer science. Sometimes when we’re talking about STEM, we’re looking at science, technology, engineering, and math.

But really, the jobs that are coming up in the STEM fields are in the computing industry. There are so many jobs available, and not enough people with those backgrounds.

So when we talk to school counselors about — ultimately, as I said, our job is to graduate students to have sustainable careers and to be happy and to have rewarding careers — the way for them to do that is to think about how — whatever their area of interest is — how it’s being transformed by technology. That will prepare them to enter a major or to enter a workforce.

Vicki: Wow. Are counselors feeling overwhelmed by all of this change?

Angela: You know, I think it’s something that really resonates with what school counselors believe in.

It’s really tied to our ethical code as school counselors.

We’re kind of a very unique profession, where not only are we addressing change with individual students, supporting that individual child, but we’re also — as school counselors, part of our responsibility which many people don’t know about is looking at a system (whether it’s our educational system in our district or looking bigger picture) and making sure that we are providing optimal learning environments and equitable access to all of our students.

This is at the heart of what school counselors do.

Looking at the big picture is at the heart of what school counselors do

When they see that there’s a way for them to achieve this goal and support their students, it actually feels very accessible to them.

It takes a problem that feels very big, and it provides the pathway for them to support students with something as simple as, “Hey, here’s a computer science class. Why don’t you and a friend sign up together, and I’ll make sure you’re in this class.”

Vicki: Well, school counselors and everyone listening, the counseling job is such an important job.

There are also many times that teachers of high school kids find ourselves wearing a little bit of a counselor’s hat, maybe not quite as much, but kids will come to us.

I think that we’ve heard some very important concepts to encourage all of our students to take a look at STEM jobs and IT jobs, and to kind of have an open mind about things because we do want our students to be successful and lead successful lives.

Part of that equation is not only building relationships and living healthy lives, but also finding a career that they love — a successful career for them.

So take a look at these resources. I’m particularly interested in the “Careers With Code” magazine. I’ll be sharing that with my students.

Thank you so much, Angela!

Angela: Thank you so much for having me!


Contact us about the show: 

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted

Angela Cleveland, M.S.Ed., M.Ed., MA [] advocates for equity and access to STEM opportunities, she consults for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)’s [] Counselors for Computing [] division, PBS’s SciGirls, [] and Accepted to School. []

Angela has 15 years of experience as a professional school counselor and is a Google Certified Educator. She is an executive board member and webmaster for the New Jersey School Counselor Association (NJSCA). [] Angela co-founded ReigningIt, [] a non-profit dedicated to creating a STEM dialogue inclusive of every woman.

Angela is a technology contributor to national publications, such as Edutopia, [] she presents on a national level about computer science and the school counseling profession, and she is an adjunct professor at Caldwell University. []

Angela’s advocacy has earned her recognition, most recently the “2017 NJ State School Counselor of the Year” award and was featured in Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls blog. []

In her free time, Angela enjoys writing and is the author of several therapeutic children’s books. [] Learn more about her: []


Twitter: @AngCleveland

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post School Counselors Helping More Women Go Into Computer Science: Tips and Advice to Find the Fit appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Hearing the Sound of Silence and Knowing When to Break It

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 15 February, 2018 - 13:18

Day 39 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Silence is not always golden, sometimes it is very dark and needs the light of the right word spoken at the right time. To be a good listener, we must not only hear what people are saying but also to hear the sound of silence. Learning when to speak and when to break the silence can make all the difference in whether we can be a more excellent person or whether we sit by and let things go unsaid and miss out.

Martin Luther King, Jr said,

“In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Way too often we say words that need not be said and hold back what we really need to say the most. Why do we do that? Silence always says something.

George Bernard Shaw said,

“Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.”

Don’t just talk to speak, though. Pythagoras said,

“Silence is better than unmeaning words.”



Silence can be caused by many things:

  • Deep wounds
  • Deep shame
  • Deep dissapointment
  • Deep disagreement
  • Deep scorn
  • Death

While silence is something we all need sometimes, I’m talking about the silence between people who know and love each other. Or silence to speak out against injustice. Silence over things that should be said. Silence about love.

People are irreplaceable. And those with whom we’ve grown up, made memories and loved are not disposable. You can’t throw away those relationships like an old shoe. The relationship is worth fighting for even if you’ll never agree.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to break the momentum of inertia and pick up the phone, go see someone, or stop them in the hall.

There is a time to speak and a time to be quiet. And the wise among us know that often the hardest but greatest thing to do is to break a silence that deserves to be broken.

I wish I could wave my magic wand and help you build rebuild bridges torn asunder by differences of opinion. I wish there were easy answers. I only know that people are important and worth the effort to try to speak when it is just easier to be silent.

As you seek to be excellent, ask yourself if there are injustices, love, or great wrongs that require you to speak. Time passes and there can come a time when words can no longer be said.

Silence isn’t golden, sometimes it is a darkness that needs the light of the right word said at the right time.

This post is day 39 of 80 days of excellence. I’ve created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

The post Hearing the Sound of Silence and Knowing When to Break It appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Teach the Whole Preschooler: Nurturing Developing Minds

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 14 February, 2018 - 21:30

Cindy Terebush on episode 253 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Cindy Terebush talks about the common mistakes of preschool programs. She also shares awesome success stories and tips for helping your preschool be the best in today’s era. She shares the challenges of teaching things at a younger age and why standards may not be a problem while implementation can be.

Sponsor: The US Matific Games have warm-up week running from February 14-20. Then, the games run from February 21-28. Try Matific free and sign up to join their Math games. Now is the time.

Matific is a fantastic site full of math manipulatives and customized playlists of activities to help students at every level master math. This fun, gamified site is sponsoring Math games this February and students can compete to win prizes for themselves and your school. Set up is easy, send them their class rosters and they’ll have you set up in 24-hours. This is a great way to try out matific, help your kids boost their math skills and have fun. And it’s free!

Listen Now


Enhanced Transcript Teach the Whole Preschooler: Nurturing Developing Minds

Link to show:
Date: February 15, 2018

Vicki: How should we be teaching preschoolers?

Cindy Terebush @earlychildhood7 is an expert, and she’s author of Teach the Whole Preschooler: Strategies for Nurturing Developing Minds.

So, Cindy, as you started to look at preschool today, what do you think the biggest issues are for where we’re going wrong?

Cindy: I think that there are a couple of issues, actually.

I think that we’re living in a very high pressure world right now, in a very immediate gratification world. So what’s happened is that we’ve gotten away from respecting the process of early childhood learning.

Respect the process of early childhood learning

You know, it is a process. And those of us who are adults, we’ve gone through that process. We know it. We know that there are certain skills that children have to obtain before we can realistically ask them to do some of the more academic things that adults want them to do. But I think we’re just so used to having everything at our fingertips that we’ve lost patience with that.

I also think that the demands that are going on right now in our schools have dropped the curriculum. So what used to be taught in second grade is either being taught in first or kindergarten, depending on where you are. And what used to be first grade is now being taught in kindergarten or preschool, depending on where you are.

Our schools have dropped the curriculum from kindergarten into preschool

It used to be that I would speak in front of a group of kindergarten teachers, and I would say — maybe 5 years ago — “What grade level are you teaching? Where was that learning 5 years ago?”

They would say, “It was in first grade.”

And now when I stand in front of a lot of kindergarten teachers, they tell me they’re teaching second grade work.

And so it has also fallen down to preschool. So the preschool teachers are scared.


Vicki: So a lack of patience, and — it’s not that the standards are too high, but the standards are not age-appropriate — is what some have told me.

Is that what you’re thinking? Do think that we’re pushing them to do too much, too fast, too early?

Cindy: You know, I don’t know.

I’ve read the standards. And I don’t know that they are so inappropriate if they are implemented correctly. And I think that’s the problem.

I think, when I look at preschool standards, for example? They say, “Children should be exposed to (or have demonstrated) an interest in…”

None of it says “Mastered”… Mastery of things having to do with letters, and sounds and reading and math are part of the kindergarten standards, not preschool.

The problem is not the standards, but the implementation of them

So, you know, when we look at preschools — what they’re doing is, instead of taking the children where they are today, looking at the children and saying “Where are you today? How can I lift you a little bit? How can I add to your knowledge?”

What they’re doing is they’re looking ahead. Our preschools have definitely become a feeding ground for preparing for the future versus nurturing today. And it really comes from fear.

The standards themselves are not so inappropriate. It’s the implementation of the standards, that I think are very challenging. I think that the standards for kindergarten are the ones that say, “Children need to have mastered certain skills,” not preschool. Preschool is all about exposure and experience and exploration.

Preschool is all about exposure, experience and exploration, not mastery


Vicki: So do you think that how we’re doing these standards-based report cards — where we have the “M” for mastered, or whatever — Is that where we’re falling short, by actually grading them on mastery, instead of just exposing them?

Cindy: Yeah. And I think mastered for one child is different than mastered for another. These are individuals.

Our school systems were really designed on the factory model, when we think about it, sort of like the Ford assembly line. You know, we’re going to take them children, and we’re going to teach them. Then we’re going to move them ahead and teach them this here. Then we’re going to move them ahead and we’re going to teach them this here. And move them ahead and teach them this there.

The industrial age model doesn’t work — especially for preschool

But the problem with that is that we’re dealing with individuals, with different levels of experience, development, and ability.

So I think to kind of “blanketly” say, “Well, you’ve mastered this, that’s great. But the person next to you has not.” At the age of three, four, and five? This makes it very challenging for the teachers.


Vicki: OK, so we’ve talked about some problems. Is there anything we’re doing right, that’s kind of new, that you think we’ve got right?

Cindy: I do think that it’s great that I’m noticing that the pendulum is swinging back to understanding the importance of play in the early childhood years.

The pendulum is swinging back

There are a couple of states that have taken the core standards and put a statement in front of them saying, “We need to be sure we’re emphasizing play.” I think that’s great.


I do think that it’s going a little bit back to people understanding the importance of experiential learning. So the pendulum swings slowly, though. That’s the problem. That pendulum swings really slowly.

And we need to — as early childhood professionals — be looking at the world which these children are entering, which is very different than the world you and I entered after our early childhood experience.

Looking at the knowledge that we have about how young children learn, and saying, “What do they need for the world they will go to?” which is frankly, something you and I probably can’t even picture at this point, with the speed of technology.

The world they will enter is very different from what ours was


Vicki: (agrees)

And with smart machines coming… I mean, I’m reading a book. The title is Humility, and it’s about how it’s important in the smart machine age — things like creativity and innovation. People skills are so important. We’re spending so much time focusing on some rote knowledge, at some points.

Cindy: We really are. And you know what? If you look at the standards, too, social-emotional is in there, and it can’t be ignored. It should be the first standard, because it’s really what these children are going to need so much. Information at their fingertips.

I was in a classroom with 2-year-olds. One of them asked me a question, and I said, “Oh, I don’t know… I’ll find out.” She said, “Where’s your Google?” She’s two! (laughs)


Vicki: (laughs)

Cindy: She knows to look in Google. (laughs)

They’re growing up with that. They don’t need to sit and rote memorize as much as we did, but they certainly need their critical thinking skills, so that when they’re looking at that information online, they can think critically about it.

(They can) try to determine if it’s true or not true. They’ll know the right questions to even ask. You know these are the things they’re going to need to know– how to analyze things through, to get the information out.


Vicki: So Cindy, you travel the country, and you take a look at a lot of preschools.

Can you tell me an exciting story — and you don’t have to names names but you could. Tell me a story of “preschool done amazingly right.”

Preschool done amazingly right

Cindy: “Preschool done amazingly right”… There are a number of schools that I walk into now, that have stopped doing weekly themes (which we all did), have stopped doing “letter of the week” (which we all did)…


Vicki: (laughs)

Cindy: And they now realize that sort of thing is not deeper learning.

I love it when I walk into schools (like) one last week where they were doing more like “study topics,” where the children are investigating a particular topic for maybe a month or two months.

They’re really digging deep, and children were being observed by the adults as the adults kind of figured out by watching them, “What do you know? What don’t you know? How can I add to your learning?”

There were lots of hands on and experiments.

One of the soap boxes that I’m on right now has to do with — when I walk into schools, and everything will be great, and they’ll be doing all this experiential learning, but I still see them doing letter of the week.

We should know better now. That’s not really how children learn alphabet best. That also needs to be individualized and based on each student.

So there are some schools I walk into where the children are learning letters in the order of what’s important to them, like their name, and then maybe their parents’ names, and their street name. That’s wonderful! That’s really doing it right.


Vicki: Oh, but isn’t it so hard to have every child learning different letters in a different order?

Cindy: You know, it is, but it’s all about your classroom management. Sometimes teachers will say to me, “How am I supposed to do that? I’ve got 15 kids in here!”

So how you do that is you divide and conquer.

Classroom management: divide and conquer

Instead of doing it all together as a large class, you sit them down in small groups and work with them, maybe four at a time. Generally speaking, early childhood classrooms have ratios so that there’s more than one adult in the room.

That’s how you do it. You divide and conquer.

Teachers have to remember that the large group time, when everyone is gathered or listening to you is not actually the optimal learning time. It’s when they’re sitting with you one-on-one or with a small group.


Vicki: Wow. But then the teacher says, “How can I have one-on-one time with everybody to teach everything?” That would be ideal.

Cindy: (laughs) You can’t.

It would! It would! You can’t have one-on-one time with everybody everyday, that’s for sure.


Vicki: Absolutely.

Cindy: You can have some small group time, like one-to-four or one-to-five almost every day.

Each day, maybe you pick another child or a couple of children where you think, “I’m going to do some work with these children today, and these other children tomorrow, and these other children the next day.”

I think we do have this very adult need to do everything with everyone at the same time. And it’s just not how they absorb information the best.


Vicki: Cindy, give us a 30-second pep talk for preschool teachers about going out there and really bringing it for their preschoolers this week.

Cindy: OK, so my 30-minute elevator speech about the importance of bringing it for preschoolers.

The importance of bringing it for preschoolers

When we work with preschoolers, we’re touching the future.

When I ask adults, “How would you like the world to be?” they tell me, “I would like the world to be kind and compassionate. I would like it to be respectful. I would like there to be a respect for intelligence and knowledge.”

That’s what we do in early childhood education. What you want the world to be, it’s what you’re creating. So I think we have to remember that when we’re sitting and speaking with early childhood learners and when we’re interacting with them.


Vicki: Well, preschool teachers, you’re so important. It is so refreshing to see that we are swinging back toward some things that make a little more sense.

But we do have to remember that these are precious, beautiful children. We can get so caught up in numbers and standards that we can forget that they are children. I know that you great preschool teachers out there — you keep that front and center, and that’s part of your job, is to advocate for those kids.

So get out there, and thank you so much for what you do.

Contact us about the show:

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Cindy Terebush – Bio as submitted

Cindy Terebush, author of “Teach the Whole Preschooler: Strategies for Nurturing Developing Minds” (WW Norton – publisher), has worked with young children for 20 years. She has experience teaching and directing in daycare, preschool and school age programs. Cindy is a sought-after workshop facilitator, keynote speaker and professional development provider for early childhood professionals and parent groups.

Cindy writes about issues related to both teaching and parenting young children for a variety of venues. She is the author of the popular blog “Helping Kids Achieve with Cindy Terebush.” She was an online reporter for “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From the Brink.” She has been a guest writer and interviewed expert for print publications, podcasts and other media. Cindy has appeared as both a panel guest and on an interview Up Close segment on the PBS show “Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato.”

Cindy is a Child Development Associate (CDA) Professional Development Specialist and class instructor. She is an approved New Jersey Workforce Registry Instructor and is a trainer for the Grow NJ Kids Quality Rating Initiative System.

Cindy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree and teaching certification from Kean University (formerly Kean College) with graduate work from Walden University. Cindy also completed the State of New Jersey Director’s Academy for Early Care and Education. Cindy has earned a certificate of training completion in Healthy Lifestyles for Preschool Families from Rutgers University, The University of Arizona and Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey. Cindy earned her Certified Professional Coach & Certified Youth, Parent, Family Coach credentials from the World Coach Institute.


Twitter: @earlychildhood7

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Teach the Whole Preschooler: Nurturing Developing Minds appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

You Might Win On a Day But You Don’t Win In a Day

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 14 February, 2018 - 12:16

Day 38 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

You might think you could win an Olympic Medal in a day, but you can’t. You might win it ON a day, but you don’t win it IN a day. Many days spent IN preparation and perspiration are required to achieve excellence ON one given day.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar

While watching people ascend podiums or receive trophies, it is easy to be envious. However, if we could see all the days before, we might not be so envious at all.

Achievement is daily. Many people want the result but so few want the habit of achieving.

You can’t lose 50 pounds in a day.  Pushing away the cake.Eating something else when everyone else is digging in at the office party. You make choices IN every day, so one day you can stand ON that scale and see the results.

You can’t write a great book in a day. Picking up a pen when you’d rather be reading. Missing out on a nap. Not lingering long at the supper table. Putting writing and proofreading and fact-checking in your daily calendar when you’d rather be speaking or talking to friends. Great authors put these things into their day so one day they can see their book on the New York Times Bestseller list.

The daily habits of achieving success on a certain day look and feel like work, pain, exhaustion, and struggle. And who likes that?

I once read a report that showed that good and bad students hate the same things: studying, homework, and listening. What is the difference? The good students do them anyway.

Everyone wants the prize, but few people want the pain.

Success may happen on a day in the future, but it begins in what you every day right now.

Are your daily habits leading you towards success? What practices are in your day that will put you on course to success in your chosen field.

If we want success on a day in the future, we must put future-minded pain-inducing tiring habits in our today, so we can get there.

This post is day 38 of 80 days of excellence. I’ve created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

The post You Might Win On a Day But You Don’t Win In a Day appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

Why 2018 needs to be the year of curiosity

Bluyonder Greg Whitby - 14 February, 2018 - 11:40

Over Christmas I had a grandfather’s delight of reading Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to my grandson. The story follows the adventures of a girl transitioning from childhood into a never-seen-before world. Alice talks about her experiences in this new environment as ‘curioser and curioser’.

It got me thinking about the importance of curiosity in education. As I was reading the book, I began to see it in the context of the slow shift from industrial to contemporary schooling. Many schools have made their way down the rabbit role in search of new experiences for students. This brings with it new challenges. The alternative though is that we continue along the path of the familiar and the ordinary.

American biochemist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Berg (1980) said ‘…I realise that nurturing curiosity and the instinct to seek solutions are perhaps the most important contributions education can make.’

As we know the demands on teachers and the expectations on schools today leaves little room for curiosity and exploration to flourish. Yet if we don’t transform schooling, then our students will not have the capacity to seek solutions in new and creative ways.

That’s why we’ve chosen to focus this year on curiosity and it will give us a springboard for future years. To do that requires open hearts, open minds and a commitment to creating new mindsets and new realities for schooling in today’s world. This is the essence of educational transformation. While that may be daunting for teachers and leaders, the good news is that we go down the rabbit hole armed with good theory and evidence about what works.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all schools could open up new and exciting worlds for every learner, every day!








Categories: Planet

The Next “You”

The Principal of Change George Couros - 14 February, 2018 - 10:23

Here is something I hear often;

“Are we creating a system of education where a student will come out and become the next Steve Jobs?”

Let’s unpack that.

Steve Jobs, a fantastic entrepreneur, businessperson, intelligent mind, and innovator.  But there is only one Steve Jobs, and I dare say that there will never be another “Steve Jobs.”  Even if it is of the highest of goals that we say this, replacing one pre-determined path, with a different one (although it may be a higher bar), is not a good idea.  What I think is important is that we create a system that helps our students find their path, their direction, and make their impact, not ours.

In Katie Martin’s book “Learner-Centred Innovation”, she focuses on our students (and her daughter) asking their own questions and finding their own path to purpose:

Some days my daughter wants to be a scientist; other days she wants to be a chef. I have no idea what she will end up doing, but I know that she loves to mix and remix and create new things—at least for now. What will we miss out on if her what if questions subside and she begins to settle for what is? What if her concoctions could someday cure cancer? What if she could open a restaurant where she could happily cook and care for people? What if she stops seeing the value of her creativity and questions and settles for a path that fails to inspire her to lead a fulfilling and successful life as she defines it? Like other children her age, she is developing her self-concept as she interacts with people and ponders her surroundings. She is learning to find her place in this world. The reality of our current system is that grades and academic achievement will increasingly play a role in how she perceives her abilities and trajectory in life. I wonder if she will continue to love learning and exploration as much as she does now if her experience in school is focused on compliance rather than developing skills and knowledge that she can use to be more creative and innovative. I’m pretty sure the answer is no.

Greatness (whatever that means to the individual) often starts by asking questions first and finding solutions second.  Curiosity is crucial to our students, and they should leave school more curious than when they started.

Maybe we need to stop saying that we want to find the next “Steve Jobs”, and start telling our students we need the next “you” and that if they continue asking questions, they will be able to leave their fingerprints on the world. The fingerprints they determine, not ones that are established for them.

Categories: Planet

Quotes About Programming and Computer Science

Computer Science Teacher Alfred Thompson - 14 February, 2018 - 05:31

While looking for a quote that was mostly remembered except for who to credit with it I found a couple of fun sites with quote collections in them. Some of these I already share with students. I think I may print out some more of these quotes for my bulletin board.

This first site is a single (longish) page with some of the best. One of my favorites is:

When debugging, novices insert corrective code; experts remove defective code. ~Richard Pattis

This next list is collected by Rich Pattis who is very quotable himself as you can see above. His list covers more than just programming. I love this one:

Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach. - Aristotle

This next one shows you a quote of the day and has a long list of sources in a menu on the side of the page. Lots of great people to check out. I like this quote by Bill Gates:

"Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight."
- Bill Gates
Read more: Gates#ixzz570txjSqE

This one has two pages of quotes. Some are more interesting than others to me but I did like this one:

“That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers.”
Larry Niven

Do you have a favorite source for computer science quotes? Or a favorite quote that you don’t find on one of these lists?

Categories: Planet

Sit With Us App: How Kids are Fighting Bullying One Lunch Table at a Time

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 13 February, 2018 - 21:30

Natalie Hampton on episode 252 of the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Natalie Hampton, a senior in Los Angeles, was bullied and ate alone every day. After she transferred schools, she found teachers and other students who wanted to make sure no one ate alone. Her “Sit with Us” apps and clubs are sweeping the US and other countries as kids use social media to find other kids and stand against bullying.

Sponsor: The US Matific Games have warm-up week running from February 14-20. Then, the games run from February 21-28. Try Matific free and sign up to join their Math games. Now is the time.

Matific is a fantastic site full of math manipulatives and customized playlists of activities to help students at every level master math. This fun, gamified site is sponsoring Math games this February and students can compete to win prizes for themselves and your school. Set up is easy, send them their class rosters and they’ll have you set up in 24-hours. This is a great way to try out matific, help your kids boost their math skills and have fun. And it’s free!

Listen Now


Enhanced Transcript Sit With Us App: How Kids are Fighting Bullying One Lunch Table at a Time

Link to show:

Date: February 13, 2018

Vicki: Today we have with us Natalie Hampton @nobodyeatsalone , a 17-year-old who is changing the world. She’s not wasting those many days at the lunch table she’s been alone, but she’s using it to help others who are struggling.

She was recently named one of “25 Women Changing the World” by People Magazine and has won lots of other recognition with her “Sit With Us” app.

So, now, Natalie, what have you experienced that led to the creation of this app?

Natalie: Well, it wasn’t exactly one experience. It was kind of over the course of two years.

I was in a school community where I being really badly bullied, and I was physically attacked four separate times. I was verbally bullied, and on top of that I ate lunch alone every day. It was so embarrassing and isolating, that experience of sitting alone.

The experience of sitting alone was so embarrassing and isolating

So once I was able to transfer to a school in a much nicer community, that experience really stuck with me. I started inviting kids over to my table that I saw sitting alone, and they became my closest friends.

I realized how that small act of kindness did so much for both of us, and so that’s why I really wanted to do something about it.

Vicki: So what does your app do?

Natalie: It’s called Sit With Us and it’s a free lunch planning app. Basically, it helps kids find allies in their schools.

The Sit With Us app helps kids find allies in their schools

So you sign up, like any social media site. You create a profile page, add a list of interests and bio and add friends. From there, if you choose to be an ambassador — which means you want to add on the anti-bullying aspect — you sign a pledge saying that anyone who tries to join your table will be welcome.

From there, you plan lunches. So you say, “My name is (this). I’m sitting (here) at (this time), and then that’s viewable to anyone in your school.

So if you’re a kid who is bullied or lonely, you open the app, you sign up with your school, and you’re given a full list of all the tables where you could join and you would be welcomed.

Vicki: Wow! How many ambassadors do you have?

Natalie: Well, we have over 100,000 users, and we’re in eight different countries. We’re continuing to spread every day.

Over 100,000 users in eight different countries — and spreading!

Vicki: So have all of those kids signed up to be an ambassador? Or how many have said, “If you want to sit at my table, you are welcome”?

Natalie: We don’t have the exact numbers on ambassadors, but if you go through and look at the app, there is an overwhelming amount of ambassadors — which is not something I expected at all. I thought that this would just be a lunch planning app for kids, but there are so many out there who really want to make a change and want to help stop bullying.

Vicki: So think about the stories and the emails that you are getting from people. What’s one that really touches you? (And of course, you don’t have to say their name.) But is there one that stands out that really reminds you of, “This is why I’m doing this.”

Natalie: Yeah. So I’m a high school senior. Classes are crazy, and there are college applications and everything, on top of having a full-time job and traveling can be really tough.

But whenever we get messages through our social media channels, it really reminds me that what I’m doing is really rewarding. It makes it all worth it.

Personal feedback from a user of the app

One of those that I got is from a girl who lives in Texas. She was just starting at a new gigantic public school.

Her mom saw an article for, “Sit With Us,” and printed it out and handed it to her. She was really confused because she thought she was the new girl. Why would she be the one being the ambassador?

But she decided to try it anyway, brought it to her school, and within the first week she had a huge group of friends that she met through the app.

She has gone on to create a Sit With Us Club. So now she’s a club leader, and she has a leadership position at her new school.

She’s loving her classes, and she has a whole friend group that she met through it as well. So I think that’s really what we were going for, is to help kids find allies in their school.

Vicki: Oh, I love that!

Is that just… Think about it…

Natalie, instead of just taking that experience you had, internalizing it, and getting bitter — you’re actually helping kids who have the same problem — around the world!

How does that feel?

Natalie: Well, I felt like if I didn’t do anything to speak out against bullying, I was just as bad as all the people who saw me being attacked and said nothing.

If I hadn’t done anything to speak out against bullying, I was just as bad as all the people who saw me being attacked and said nothing

It was something that was so important to me and affected me so greatly that I couldn’t just sit there and not do anything.

It was really something that I felt that I had to do. And I thought, with all this work, even if I only help one person, then it will have been worth it.

Vicki: So, Natalie, I’m a teacher, and you’re talking to teachers.

What can teachers do to help?

I know, you know, sometimes in bullying, teachers can make things worse. But that’s still no excuse.

You know, if I see it, I’m going to deal with it. I’m going to address it and talk to the kid who’s sitting alone and see what I can do to address it.

But what’s your word to teachers like me?

Natalie: At my old school, pretty much my only ally and friend was my visual art teacher.

We all had to sit in one cohesive area, and so when you’re sitting alone, it was incredibly embarrassing because you were kind of labeled as the outcast.

The only person I had to talk to was my art teacher. And she would leave her classroom unlocked for me during the day so that I could go in there and sit by myself. I didn’t have to see everyone else.

And while that’s not a solution, she was the only one who really saw me sitting alone and would reach out and talk to me.

What can teachers do to help?

So being aware is the first step in anything.

She really saved me from so much suffering just by reaching out in the littlest way that she could.

And then, on top of that, I think what’s really important is to inspire the students. I thought that what I’m doing now would be completely impossible. But with the guidance of my teachers, and them believing in me, it’s really helped me go far.

I really think that students have so much power that they just need the adults around them to tell them that.

So as a teacher, if you can be supportive and help them reach their dreams that they want to do — whatever project they may be thinking of — it’s going to be incredible.

Vicki: So Natalie, do you have any teachers that are working with you now that you want to give a shout-out to or thank?

Natalie: YES! Of course, my history teacher, who is my absolute favorite teacher is our club sponsor, and he’s helping us run the club at my school. We really couldn’t do without him. So shout out to “Teddy.” (laughs) He’s my favorite teachers, and I’m in his government class right now, and so there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

Vicki: So how has he helped you in inspiring you to pursue this?

Natalie: Well, when I came up with the idea, I was 15 and had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to code and somehow wanted to create a global app.

At first, it was really my parents that helped me run with it.

Then on top of that, it was my teachers. I talked to them and said, “Would you be interested in helping me do this?”

So we started our first club at my own school, and once it grew big enough there, we spread to other schools. It really started with that foundation at my school that helped me bring it to other schools.

Vicki: Wow, so we have learned so much about the Sit With US app.

So it’s an app. It’s also a club. It’s also a movement.

The Sit With US app: An app. A club. A movement.

I love this idea — when you’re new at a school, to think — it’s about helping others.

Because you know, you may go to that school and there may be a lot of people who are alone, and who want to sit with others.

I think this is a great app to talk about with our students, and also to share.

But also know, teachers, there are times when I have students that I work with, and they’re sitting by themselves. I do make my room an open and safe place that they can come to any time of day that they want to.

And of course, if you’ve been listening to this show for a while, you know that I had four years of my life when I was that kid who was alone. I was that kid who was picked last. I was that kid who was worthless, and that nobody would ever love.

If it hadn’t been for my parents, and eventually some teachers when I got older who really helped me see my worth as well as my own Christian faith… And that, I mean how can you overcome that?

There are so many gifted and amazing children who experience this. And one is too many.

So… take a look at the Sit With Us app. Share it with your kids, and let’s continue the fight against bullying.

Contact us about the show:

Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford

Bio as submitted

Seventeen-year-old Natalie Hampton is a Los Angeles high school senior, anti-bullying activist, app developer, and the CEO of a non-profit called Sit With Us, Inc. Natalie was severely bullied in middle school and was forced to eat lunch alone nearly every day. After she switched schools and quickly fell in with a great friend group, she would invite anyone who was eating alone to join her lunch table. Those people became not only her friends, but friends with everyone in the group, and were invited to social gatherings. She saw that one simple act of kindness made a big difference in their lives. This inspired her to create the Sit With Us mobile app, which serves as a free lunch planning tool for middle and high school kids so that no one has to eat lunch alone. Kids can use the app’s features to coordinate lunches with their friends. They can also volunteer to be Sit With Us Ambassadors for their schools and post open lunch events on campus so that anyone looking for a table to join can find one. The app has been featured by Apple under “New Apps We Love” in the App Store, has been downloaded by 100,000+ people in eight countries worldwide, has won numerous awards, and has garnered the attention and acclaim of international media and press. Natalie recently was named 1 of 25 Women Changing the World by People Magazine. This past summer, she won the Outstanding Youth Delegate Award from the United Nations Youth Assembly and was given the privilege to speak from the podium in the Great Assembly Hall about the importance of a peaceful and inclusive society. She has also been an invited keynote speaker at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, TEDxTeen London, and many conferences, including “Girls Can Do” (Washington D.C.), Renaissance Weekend (Charleston), and Say NO Bullying (Los Angeles). Recognizing the effectiveness of her solution, six prominent anti-bullying organizations are partnering with Natalie, including Born This Way Foundation, PACER, and Champions Against Bullying, and her non-profit has received grants from corporations such as Disney, Samsung, and the Learning Channel.

In addition to her work with Sit With Us, Natalie volunteers extensively for her community. She is a senior counselor for United in Harmony, a non-profit organization that runs a sleep away camp for underprivileged and homeless kids, and she also tutors underprivileged kids at the Otis Booth campus of Children’s Institute Inc.


Twitter: @nobodyeatsalone

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” This company has no impact on the editorial content of the show.

The post Sit With Us App: How Kids are Fighting Bullying One Lunch Table at a Time appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet

When Going the Second Mile Becomes Second Nature

Cool Cat Teacher Blog Vicki Davis - 13 February, 2018 - 13:51

Day 37 of 80 Days of Excellence

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Do you know where you’re aiming? What does excellence look like? You can’t be complacent and strive for excellence. Excellence requires effort.

“If you don’t aim for anything, you’ll hit it every time,” Zig Ziglar

Tonight at the supper table, we had a family conversation about how we can tell people are really aiming for what they say they want to do. Every basketball, football, softball, baseball, and every other team I know talks about wanting “region” and “state.”

But so few hit the mark. Why?

I’ve known quite a few state winning teams in my time as a teacher. I’ve learn to spot them in the off season. When I see students at the school working out with each other and on their own when they don’t have to — that is when I can tell. They are aiming.

You’re aiming for excellence when going the second mile becomes second nature.

Post Mortem or Final Answer?

Kip was discussing a football team he played on once that never won region or state. After practice, the kids who made mistakes were punished with extra work and had to do a “post mortem.” But not everyone. Just the misfits and those who messed up. Most of the players were tired and went to the locker room. Everyone really needed those extra runs.

This is quite a contrast to what my son’s former NFL football player, Danny Copeland, has taught my son to do — the Final Answer. The Final Answer is an exercise that Danny did himself in preparation for pushing ahead during exhaustion. When the workout is done and they’re exhausted, the Final Answer is an exercize where they push and drag a heavy concrete block up a hill. The goal is to do it four or five times when done with the workout. It teaches you to push hard when you’re tired. It is not an exercise any of them look forward to doing but it is something they’re thankful for when in an exhausting point in the game.

The people who prepare with a “Final Answer” are those who are aiming for excellence in the sport.

The “Final Answer” exercize makes the second mile second nature.  It is your answer to the question everyone is asked at some point in their life,

“Are you going to reach the goal you’re aiming for by pushing through exhaustion?”

We All Have a Final Answer

Excellence is difficult. It is hard. Some people will call you a zealot. Others will say it is too much. But we all have a final answer we give when we’re tired but the bulls eye is within arrow-shot.

If you don’t aim for anything, you’ll hit it every time. And if you are aiming for something important to you, sometimes you have to let the arrow fly when you’re spent and have nothing left to give. You’ll need steady hands and a mind prepared to act and aim when everyone else gives up.

Great achievements rarely happen after you’re well rested and relaxed.

They often happen in the midst of exhaustion and exertion and they don’t happen unless you aim for them.

Where are you aiming?

Do you prepare a final answer?

Is going the second mile second nature?

This post is day 37 of 80 days of excellence. I’ve created an email list below for those of you want to be emailed the full posts written as part of this series.

The post When Going the Second Mile Becomes Second Nature appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

Categories: Planet
ACCE Partners
ACCE Partners
ACCE Partners
ACCE Partners